Improving Comprehension Skills- Making Inferences


Inference is a “foundational skill” because inferring requires higher order thinking skills, it can be difficult for many students. However, it can be taught through explicit instruction in inferential strategies What It Means To Infer

Stopping to think and rereading if necessary

Connecting what you know to the words and pictures

Recapping what has happened so far

Asking a question about what could happen next

Paying attention to details in the pictures

Thinking about what the words could mean

Talking to yourself and then stating an opinion about what you have read

Trying to picture it in your mind

Combining all the clues left by the author

Coming up with a conclusion, guess, or bigger idea

How to Teach Inference
One simplified model for teaching inference includes the following assumptions:

a. We need to find clues to get some answers.
c. We need to add those clues to what we already know or have read.
d. There can be more than one correct answer.

e. We need to be able to support inferences.

Four questions that can be posed to students (Marzano 2010) to facilitate a discussion about inferences are:

1. What is my inference?
2. What information did I use to make this inference?
3. How good was my thinking?
4. Do I need to change my thinking?
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